Sunday, July 7, 2013

茅ケ岳 Mt. Kagayatake–Nirasaki


It’s been over a year since I’ve hiked in Japan and my body, especially my knees, are good evidence of that. After an extended period of sloth, I finally gathered enough will power to push myself out of my gadget filled apartment and socialize with my hiking friends again.

This time I have a better reason for hiking than just my health and some pictures. I’ve decided to get serious about hiking again because one of my good friends wants to take me up Mt. Fuji. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I still haven’t gone up Mt. Fuji after 5 years of living within plain sight of it. I always felt it looked better from a distance than up close. I’ve been on it by car before but never actually hiked it. Now I want to do it and I want to be physically fit before I try it and what better way to prepare me than to hit some of my many local trails available to me.


Today’s hike was a fairly simple one. Mt. Kagayatake is an easy trail to find and get to as it is just in the hills behind Nirasaki Station. The parking lot even has a properly stocked public restroom which could be a godsend for many. The trail isn’t that bad. It starts off in a thickly wooded area and quickly ascends into a craggy mountain. It’s not too difficult a climb but there were parts where having some proper grippy shoes was a must. Too bad I came up in running shoes. I still haven’t learned after all these years…


The trail looks a lot like this most of the way up.

We hiked on an especially hot day and I managed to go through my 2liter backpack of water. I usually can go through a lot less water but it was unbearably hot at about 38 Celsius and somewhat hazy because of the all the humidity. On a clearer day we would’ve been able to see Mt. Fuji from the summit, like may other peaks in Yamanashi, but this particular day the clouds decided to enshrine Mt. Fuji in a nice blanket.

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The summit of Mt. Kagayatake isn’t all that interesting to look at. It sits at 1704 meters and feels like it from the views you get. There’s some rocks to sit on and a couple of posts to mark it but on a hot day I was hoping for some trees or something to save us from the intense sunshine. I figure it would be a better trail to hike during the fall when all the hills around the peak are covered in autumn colors.

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I came down the mountain with a bad knee most likely from not using my legs for anything physical for over a year. The decent is a bit rough and steep like most mountains in this area. Investing in some hiking sticks or poles isn’t a bad idea to give yourself better footing. I may do this to treat my knees better in the future. I’d like to be able to walk on my own when I get to retirement age one day…

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